Women of Influence: Interview with CEO Helen Zhu


Helen Zhu CEO of Creator Deck, a company that runs Chictopia community, is a Berkeley Graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. She’s the first in what will be an AKIRA blog exclusive series entitled Women of Influence. The series will be comprised of hear-it-first interviews with female CEOs from some of the top apps, websites, and companies we love. Girl powah!

Interview with Helen Zhu, CEO of Chictopia and founder of CreatorDeck

Life of a CEO.. What time do you wake up in the morning and what’s your routine like?

I wake up around 8:30am. Take a shower, eat cereal, and then head to work. It takes me about 30 min to get ready, barring any distractions from my toddler son.


What’s the best business advice you ever received?

I think the best business advice I’ve received recently is from the founder of The New Oriental, who told me to focus on building teams that have skillsets that I don’t have.


How do you handle work/life balance?

Work is my life – so it’s balanced to begin with 🙂


What are some of the websites you visit most?

Facebook, Twitter, Google, Baidu, Wikipedia


Who would you want to play you in a movie about your life?

Hm… an Asian version of Emma stone?


What are some of the hurdles that you found were exceptionally difficult to overcome because of your gender?

I travel a lot. Sometimes it’s embarrassing to not be able to lift up my suitcase high enough to reach the overhead compartment. I’m working on my arm strength through practicing yoga right now.


Advice for other women who dream of owning or running their own company in the future?

​Don’t dream it. Do it.


Okay, now let’s talk fashion. What would you say is the #1 necessity for Spring 2016?

​Get your eyebrows done.


How do you dress for success? Do you think your style influences the way you’re perceived?

​Absolutely. I didn’t realize how much my style affected how I was perceived until I dyed my hair blue. All of a sudden, I got fantastic customer service at airports. I think everyone thought that I was either a Japanese rockstar, or someone that would be loud enough to make a scene if I was unhappy – considering, I was kind of scene with my hair alone.

I have black hair now. I now just focus on wearing badass shoes.


Give us the deets, how often do you shop and what do you buy the most? Clothing, shoes, or accessories?

I browse online daily, but mostly for inspiration.  I actually don’t shop very often, probably only once a month at stores, and maybe once a month online. But when I do, I do tend to buy quite a few pieces at once. In the past few months, I’ve been very fixated on buying pant suits. Mostly because I’m really into the androgynous look right now. I want to look like a taller version of Ellen Page, but at the same time not mistaken as a hotel manager at the Shanghai Hyatt. A tough balance to strike, I know.


Check out Chictopia >

Check out Creator Deck >


Sara Berke
Written by

Sara Berke is the Digital Marketing Manager for shopAKIRA.com and Editor in Chief of blog.shopakira.com. When she’s not shoe shopping or convincing herself that she definitely needs yet another new outfit.. you’ll either find her chillin’ on the couch watching Desperate Housewives, hanging with Paxton and Kit (her dog and cat), or she's bouncing around the city with friends eating up all the food and drinking all the drinks. Find her on social @saraberke


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